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Some Combat Ideas Help Needed

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Anonymous

Hello everyone,

I'm working on a fantasy style board game involving combat. What I need assistance with is sorting out some basic combat category types for the pieces.

At the moment I have the following six types of pieces:
- Infantry: Basic land troops
- Cavalry: Any land mounted troops
- Artillery: Any troops that attack at range (Does "Ballistic" sound or suit more appropriately?)
- Aerial: Any troops that attack from the skies
- Siege: Any troops that are specialized in attacking defensive structures or strongholds
- Defensive: Any Structure or Stronghold that provides a measure of protection and support to the troops inside

I suppose what I need to work out is:
- Should there be any more categories of pieces - Have I missed out on anything that should be in a fantasy setting?
- Which units are good at attacking which?
For example, Cavalry units should be good against infantry while infantry are better against Defensive structures than cavalry units. Any framework that you can give me would be appreciated.

I suppose what I'm getting at is that I don't want to make an obvious blunder that does not make sense in game.

Any help would be very greatly appreciated; thanks in advance

Anonymous
Some Combat Ideas Help Needed

Well I am looking at a similar game and I have a number of other unit types that aren't on your list...

Combat-wise I can only think of two important ones off the top of my head:

Archers & Magic.

Speaking as a longtime SCA fighter and follower of medieval history, you can't lump archers into the same category as swordsmen or catapults. In certain situations, the archer is KING of the battlefield, and they have strengths and vulnerabilities that are quite different from any other sort of unit.

The other catchall for fantasy is magic. What if you have a wizard on the battlefield? How does he attack or defend as compared to a mob of swordsmen or goblins or elves?

You can solve this by simply not including wizards, but you wanted ideas so there it is.

Anonymous
Some Combat Ideas Help Needed

Hi Waywardclam, (Cool name, How did you come up with your tag?)

Thanks for the reply.

I was dumping archers, crossbowers etc. into Artillery along with a few others. Perhaps Ballistics is a better general name? Your thoughts?

Catapults simply go into the Seige category along with various other types of Seige Engines.

The one category I did not mention is that of characters - although they normally have their own troop around them that fits into one of the above categories. High level magicians are a proportion of some of the characters involved in the game.

As for magic, there could be two styles of magic thanks to something you said rather than one. Previously I was saving magic for the big stuff. By this, I mean more cataclysmic events than taking out a troop of Axemen. For example, if a Wizard wished to destroy an army, it is best done from a far away moutaintop rather than on the field of battle. Wizards, Magicians, Sorcerers and Mystics generally prefer to keep to themselves rather than blowing up the world (although blowing up parts of it is fine :lol: ).
However, you have given me an idea that perhaps lower powered conjurors could have a certain effect in battle. They could conceivably be pushed into one of the above groups: "Magic Missile" types as artillery units, "Summoners" as Infantry or Cavalry (they conjure up their own dinosaur companion or mounts) and so on. Hmmm... you have certainly got me thinking so thanks for the reply.

Any other ideas?

Anonymous
Some Combat Ideas Help Needed

WaywardClam came from an improv comedy group I was in (it's now defunct sadly) called the Wayward Clams.

The magic rules I would say should match the feel of genre you are looking for. Your ideas without my interference, IMHO, were a good description of Tolkein-esque fantasy, where wizards are rare and powerful things... the second way, with battlemages on the field, are more a AD&D type thing, where magic is much more common and wizards take the field alongside warriors...

If magic will be more common, in a fantasy game, I think there should be more magical creatures on the field. This would necessitate room for them to have unusual powers in the combat system.

For example, if you have a Mutant Blob as one of your units, does it attack in the same fashion as Infantry does? Can it even be hurt by Ballistic units? Does it have to go completely around hills and rivers? Does it absorb forests it passes through? Etc., etc.

My fantasy wargame I am working on has a very high level of magic, although only one spellcaster per side, more on the grand level you were originally envisioning. But I do have a lot of smaller magical units that have magical attacks of some sort or other.

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Re: Some Combat Ideas Help Needed

Sam_Phipps wrote:

I'm working on a fantasy style board game involving combat.

It's hard to evaluate your choices without knowing more about your game, or at least, the kind of game you're trying to create. "Involving" combat can mean a lot of different things. Is combat a minor component of the game (in addition to realm-building and power consolidation), an essential component of the game (it's a means to territorial acquisition, for example, like in Risk/Axis and Allies), or is it the game itself (ie, your game is a battlefield simulation).

To me, having a lot of unit types requires a sufficient number of mechanics to make differentiation between those units meaningful. A great example of this is Shogun, which I really like. In that game, there are four unit types, 2 missle weapons, and two hand-to-hand. Each subcategory has a "more expensive" unit that is also more likely to hit, and a less expensive unit that is less skilled in combat. Combat goes via missles first, hand-to-hand second. So, there are all sorts of interesting decisions in what units to buy, what units to commit to battle, who to fight against, etc. An army of all Archers can be a real wrecking ball, but they also can incur heavy and costly casualties if they don't have some Spearman to "absorb" hits.

Of course, Shogun/Samurai Swords is not a battefield simulation, it's a game about territorial conquest. If it's a war game you want, better to have lots of units, lots of statistics, lots of rules. But in a higher-level game, where perhaps you're trying to control the realm, you should focus more on player decisions and less on accurate simulation. In that case, maybe only having the 6 units you mentioned is enough, rather than having lots of different kinds of units. And your primary consideration ought to be "how does this lead to more interesting and challenging decisions for the players" moreso than "is this accurate from a historical/military standpoint"? Of course, if you can do both, great!

But it's hard to know what to tell you without knowing more about what kind of game you're trying to make.

Good luck with your project!

-Jeff

What I need assistance with is sorting out some basic combat category types for the pieces.

At the moment I have the following six types of pieces:
- Infantry: Basic land troops
- Cavalry: Any land mounted troops
- Artillery: Any troops that attack at range (Does "Ballistic" sound or suit more appropriately?)
- Aerial: Any troops that attack from the skies
- Siege: Any troops that are specialized in attacking defensive structures or strongholds
- Defensive: Any Structure or Stronghold that provides a measure of protection and support to the troops inside

I suppose what I need to work out is:
- Should there be any more categories of pieces - Have I missed out on anything that should be in a fantasy setting?
- Which units are good at attacking which?
For example, Cavalry units should be good against infantry while infantry are better against Defensive structures than cavalry units. Any framework that you can give me would be appreciated.

I suppose what I'm getting at is that I don't want to make an obvious blunder that does not make sense in game.

Any help would be very greatly appreciated; thanks in advance

Anonymous
Some Combat Ideas Help Needed

Hello everyone,

Waywardclam,

Hello again and thanks for the further reply. I suppose the main influence for me in terms of magic is actually Jack Vance. If you have ever read the Lyonesse series (which if you have not, I would warmly suggest you do :wink: ) you will understand what I mean. I suppose implicit in having very powerful mages is the fact that they would have to start somewhere and not everyone would have the potential to reach the lofty heights of the most poweful wizards. As such, there is most probably room for both types - if nothing else, it adds a little more fantasy the game which I think would be a good thing.

Hi Jeff,
Thanks for the comments and input. :D
I suppose I'm trying to keep combat reasonably simple. I suppose the only thing I was tring to be wary of is having a blatantly unrealistic situation that made the players go "huh???"
As for the game itself, it is more about territory control with "stacks" of playing pieces moving on a board trying to achieve dominance - through either combat or diplomacy. In fact, I made a "back of the box" blurb for the game which goes something like this:

" is a fantasy game where two players act and battle as two mystical forces that can bend, influence and reweave the threads of fate of the many souls in the world of . By unearthing and controlling assassins, knights, wizards, guilds, citadels, towers, castles, dark secrets, mystical forces, arcanely powerful artifacts as well as a myriad of other influential, powerful and fated entities, each player seeks to gain dominion over the land and in particular their dread opponent who seeks their ultimate destruction."

In relation to combat, I'm utilising the concept of variance more so than randomness. I'm trying to allow for a variety of outcomes where by there are numerous strategies to achieve different aims. In other words, combat is not an all or nothing affair. In terms of the mechanics, I was using a single "Battle" variable that can vary in a few ways:
- Each player starts with a certain number of "Support" points which may be secretly added to the base battle value each round of combat.
- Unit type may give a certain bonus against other unit types. For example:
Cavalry get +2 vs Infantry and Seige units
Artillery get +1 vs Cavalry
Seige units get +2 vs Defensive Structures
Aerial get +1 vs Infantry but +2 vs Seige and so on
- Some particular units may have a special ability that can be "activated" if the player spends the appropriate number of support points.

The framework that this works around is having one stack of pieces attacking another stack of pieces. The top piece of each stack attacks the other with the highest combined battle/support score defeating the other piece. This continues until a player withdraws their stack (If they can) or one of the sides is defeated or offers surrender.

Anyway, as you can see, the bonus system I am trying to build into it is only a small effect but one that I would like to make sense. I suppose I can give a full detailing of the Rules of Combat when I've fine-tuned and playtested the system to satisfaction.

Any further thoughts or opinions are certainly appreciated.

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